“Uh, okay… Just a sec… Just, uh, wait… Huh? Right. One more minute…”
Although this is normally what we hear from our daughter, in this case it was me procrastinating. Specifically, I was reading the delicious book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and couldn’t quite put it down to get my daughter her dinner.
Only the very best books can do this to me. And even then, if there are delineated chapters I can usually find a breaking point. But this book has both the sort of writing that makes you want to see what happens next, and is written in the form of correspondence. Breaking the book into sections based on letters makes it nearly impossible for me to stop reading. Just one more short correspondence, I think. And then boom, I’ve read another ten pages and my daughter has returned, surprised that her macaroni and cheese from a box is taking this long (yes – sad to say that I do often make this for her).
Crafting a story that has this type of intense pull is not easy. Even a fantastic plot, if paired with less than deep characters and precise pacing, will allow my eyes to wander from the page. Then, like most readers, my attention is lost.
Some friends and I were discussing Fifty Shades of Grey yesterday (a fairly one sided conversation as only one of us, not me, had read it.) Still, though I have yet to find it in me to pick it up, I could at least engage with our discussion about the mechanics of the story. Specifically, the person who had read it said that the writing wasn’t even that good. And yet, she was drawn to keep reading and to finish the book, not just set it down.
In fact, I have already heard this about Fifty Shades. But while the writing might struggle, to have created characters compelling enough that the reader sticks with the story in spite of its flaws says a great deal, I think, about the author’s talent.
Don’t get me wrong… I still say the very best books are the ones that have it all. It matters not which genre each person prefers. Within every category are books that sparkle like moonlight on wavy water. Perhaps, if you are like me, you too will find such a book in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Now, sorry to keep it short, but I have a few more letters to read.
I’m still waiting to hear about your favorite or planned trips. Leave a comment and let me know what journeys have inspired you, and I’ll enter you into a drawing where one lucky January commenter will win a copy of any one of Daniel Davidson's Travel Free Guides. Check back at the end of the month to see if you’re my winner. Please note –while I love and appreciate getting Facebook posts and Twitter replies, the comment must be made on my blog, using the blog form – this way all who see the blog post can engage in a shared conversation. Thanks.
(BTW - For those of you who don’t yet know of Daniel Davidson, he’s a travel writer with great advice on saving money while traveling. Check his website for more info: http://www.freetravelideas.com/)
NOTE: Thanks for all of the fun comments during the month of December. I am super happy to announce that is the winner of the $10 donation to the non-political charity of their choice is Catherine Castle. Congratulations Catherine! Please leave a comment and let me know to which charity I can donate in your name.
“Now I’ll be able to use my English accent and people will understand me.”
To be fair, my daughter does have a unique ability to mimic accents and voices. This isn’t always a good thing as we’ve had a few awkward moments when she was younger and people may have thought she was making fun of them. Her favorite accent is a Northern English one. I believe she learnt it at an early age while watching a kids show on t.v.- but it never ceases to amaze me how spot on she is with it.
And, indeed, she will get to try it out in person this summer. True to my New Year’s Resolution, we started off 2014 by making the reservation for our trip to England this summer. I have a million ideas for our itinerary battling for attention in my head right now. But since the purpose of the trip is to do research for my next book, this sets the priority. Fortunately for both me and my daughter, the trip is based around a mother and daughter’s visits to competing tourist locations of Jane Austen and Harry Potter.
There are so many possible sites for each of these that even that will be difficult to cull. The filming of Harry Potter and the many Jane Austen stories has covered many English locales. But the point of the story will be the mother’s conflict between literary pride and commercial prejudice. Expect some romance thrown in there (for my character, not me:>) and it is a story I am really eager to write. It also is a great way to prioritize which of these many locations we visit.
I read somewhere that having a goal is a great way to focus a trip. At the same time the author wrote that while the goal might help create the itinerary, the real journey takes place in the experiences, planned or unplanned, along the way. So, while we will be excited to visit friends in England, and eager to finally go to some places my daughter has on her bucket list (like Highclere Castle, Stonehenge and The British museum for the Rosetta Stone,) the purpose of our trip is to experience our mother/daughter time, and allow it to inform the manuscript. We may even blog about it from each of our POVs... a record, so to speak, of this personal and emotional journey for each of us.
In the meantime, I’ll try to share our itinerary with you as it grows, and I’ll look forward to your suggestions. I like to hope it will be a Journey Inspired by Love and enjoyed by many.
Happy New Year! Here’s to your own Journeys Inspired by Love in 2014.
Have you visited any must-see Harry Potter or Jane Austen sites? Do you have any big journeys (literal or metaphorical) planned for 2014? I love to hear from my blog readers! And to prove it I'll give a copy of any one of Daniel Davidson's Travel Free Guides to one lucky commenter during the month of January. Leave your comment and then check back at the end of the month to see if you won. Good Luck and Happy Journey.
P.S. In case you haven't found him yet, Daniel Davidson is a travel writer with great advice on saving money while traveling. Check him out at his website: http://www.freetravelideas.com/
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